Many years after graduating from high school, I can still picture one student’s face although his name escaped me long ago. I remember him for one reason: he always made me laugh. When the teacher would call him to the board to answer a question, he would inevitable “pretend” trip on his way up to the front of the room. His move, although predictable, never failed to make me laugh. Although I graduated with nearly 400 other students, he is the one I think of most often when I need a laugh.
Despite our best attempts, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. But when we are laughing, we forget our worries and anger, create joy and inner-peace, and bond with others around us. It’s hard to feel sad, lonely, or anxious when we are laughing. Humor helps all of us maintain an optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss. Most importantly, laughter helps us live in the moment and even has the power to alleviate physical symptoms and ailments. Laughter can boost immunity, lower blood pressure, decrease pain, relax muscles, enhance teamwork, improve relationships, and even help diffuse conflict.
Even during the busiest of days, it is not as hard as we think to incorporate humor into our own lives. Whether you are the one laughing or helping another person to laugh, here are a few ways:
- Turn off the news and watch funny videos or movies instead.
- Head to the library and check out a humorous book.
- Tell a joke and ask a friend to do the same for you.
- Go to lunch with fun people who have a good sense of humor.
- Ask your family / friends to share the funniest (or most embarrassing) moment in their lives.
- Break into song in your car with the windows down.
- Make a silly face in the mirror.
Surround yourself with things that make you smile. Frame photos of you having fun with friends or your family. Find a funny toy to put on your desk at work like a bobble-head or crazy pencil topper. Having all of these elements close to you will help you remember that it's okay to laugh, even during the most challenging of times.
Laughing is fun, contagious, and an important element of attaining happiness. It's never too late to learn to embrace joy, find the humor in every day, and then generously share it with others.
Vicky DeCoster is author of the humorous “Wacky Womanhood” series (www.wackywomanhood.com) as well as a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at www.crossthebridgecoaching.com.